“It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live.”
Last episode we learned how How Not To Die.
Today we contemplate the flip side: How To Die.
Everybody dies. Everybody. Of course we know this to be true. But when was the last time you had a direct experience with someone in the grips of the undeniable reality that afflicts us all without exception? Most people have never even seen a dead person, let alone held the hand of someone expiring their last breath.
Why is the one thing we all share in common seemingly deleted from our daily human experience?
Because our culture is carefully crafted to obscure, whitewash, sanitize and obviate every unpalatable aspect of the frightening reality that scares the shit out of us more than anything else.
As a result, we sleepwalk through life pretending it doesn’t exist. Subconsciously, we might even harbor the completely insane thought that somehow, some way, we will be the exception to the rule and find a way to escape such distasteful finality.
Then, when death rears it’s unfamiliar head (it always does), we recoil. We get uncomfortable. Paralyzed by fear and morbidity, we stumble with our words. Lacking the capacity to even have an open and honest conversation about it, we retreat into a shame spiral.
Death breeds fear. Fear breeds resistance. Resistance breeds denial. And denial never helped anyone.
This is not a healthy relationship with death.
So let go of the fear. Free yourself of the resistance. And let’s form a new relationship with death. One that not only acknowledges it, but embraces it as our most potent communal experience. One that guilds our lives with meaning. One that allows us to be more present in our lives. One that unites rather than divides. One that provides fertile soil for gratitude.
For me, these concepts are not academic. As I type, Julie’s 92-year old father is on his deathbed. It is unlikely he will live to see the weekend. And so for the last several days, our lives have been on hold as our children and extended family have gathered around Larry Mathis to celebrate his remarkable life. We’ve told stories. Sung songs. Held his hand. Kissed his forehead. Said our goodbyes as he slips out of conscious awareness.
This week we’ve talked a lot about death. This podcast is an extension of that ongoing conversation.
Peace + Plants,
P.S. – Thank you for an amazing 3 years as we celebrate our 200th episode. I love you all.
Production & sound design by me. Additional production by Chris Swan. Graphic art by Shawn Patterson. The show concludes with New Earth, written and performed by Julie — aka SriMati – accompanied by our sons Tyler & Trapper Piatt.
Thanks to this week’s sponsors:
Harrys.com: A superior shave at an affordable price. Type in my coupon code “ROLL” at purchase for $5 off your starter set and get an entire month’s worth of shaving for just $10 when you visit Harrys.com.
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